eBay Authenticate launches to eliminate fake products

Online shopping is great, but with it comes an increased risk of buying a fake item. This has been an issue since sites like eBay and Amazon first rose to prominence. While some sites like Amazon are launching lawsuits against sellers who ship out fake products, eBay is taking a different approach by launching a new authentication program.

Appropriately named eBay Authenticate, this new program leans on a "network of professional authenticators" to add an additional layer of trust to online transactions. Buyers will be able to opt-in to the program by paying a fee, and then when the item is sold, it will be sent to one of these authenticators for verification. Assuming the product sold gains the authenticator's approval, it will then be forwarded to the buyer.

Sellers who choose to pay the eBay Authenticate fee will benefit from a banner placed on their listing that tells prospective buyers that the item will be verified before delivery. This, in turn, helps sellers who deal in legitimate products stand out from the rest, and should help make users more confident in buying their items.

For now, there's no word on how much it'll cost sellers to participate in eBay Authenticate. The program will enter testing later this year, and at first, eBay will focus on specific segments of its fashion category, like high-end handbags. Once testing has finished, eBay will roll out Authenticate to cover more high-end products in general, and we can expect that wider launch to happen before the end of the year.

In the announcement for eBay Authenticate, eBay Vice President of Consumer Selling Laura Chambers mentions a unique advantage this could bring to new sellers. Since they don't already have a reputation as a seller established on the site, those new sellers could use Authenticate to go the extra step in giving their buyers confidence.

Of course, depending on how much the fee for Authenticate is, it could turn a lot of sellers off to an otherwise worthwhile service. We'll just have to wait for more details, but in the meantime, let us know in the comments section if such a feature would instill you with more confidence while shopping on eBay.